Los Angeles is a city crawling with artists and graffiti vandals, and both sectors — as well as other folks who like to paint stuff for legitimate reasons — are big on buying spray paint. In order to keep closer tabs on the graffiti types, the L.A. City Council is proposing a law that would require anyone who buys spray paint to submit their address and identification so police can keep the information on file.
L.A. Weekly reports a councilman, citing a similar ordinance in Portland, Ore., has proposed that those who buy spray paint along with “spray paint nozzles, paint pens, glass cutting and etching tools,” which he dubs as “graffiti paraphernalia,” would have to provide the info.
An American Civil Liberties Union representative tells the Weekly why it thinks such a law would be unconstitutional:
“They’re potentially making a suspect out of everyone who buys a certain kind of paint. You’re syaing anybody who buys a particular kind of art material is singled out as a potential criminal suspect. Singling out a First Amendment activity is potentially a prob under the constitution.”